Since 2006, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Beyond Words grant program has been a beacon of hope for school libraries destroyed or severely impacted by disasters. In the wake of tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods and more, the Beyond Words disaster relief program has helped public school libraries rebuild, reestablish and/or expand library resources and programs through financial support.
“School libraries play a critical role in providing access to educational resources for all students. When disasters strike and school libraries are impacted, the Beyond Words program is designed to help schools rebuild their collections and technology resources,” said Denine Torr, Dollar General’s executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. “Helping ensure educational continuity when recovering from a disaster is important. The Beyond Words program hopes to ease the stress of the recovery process while increasing access to educational resources for students and teachers.”
As of spring 2022, the Beyond Words program has awarded more than $2.7 million to more than 220 schools in 31 states, positively impacting more than 115,000 students.
To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be public schools serving students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade located within 15 miles of a Dollar General store, distribution center or the Company’s Store Support Center in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. The library must have either lost its building or incurred substantial damage or hardship due to a natural disaster, fire or act recognized by the federal government as terrorism. Applications must be submitted within three years of the disaster. Eligible schools may apply here.
A sampling of Beyond Words grant recipients include:
Cresskill Middle/High School in Cresskill, New Jersey received $20,000 after being impacted by Hurricane Ida.
Raceland Middle School in Raceland, Louisiana received $20,000 after being impacted by Hurricane Ida.
Bluford STEM Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina received $15,000 after being impacted by a tornado in April 2018.
Old Dock Elementary School in Whiteville, North Carolina received $20,000 after their library was destroyed by a devastating fire in January 2015.